questionsanybody feel like answering some tech…

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Currently you have:
PC video going to TV via S-Video cable.
PC sound going to surround system via audio cable (3.5mm headphone type?)

1) Does the surround sound have HDMI inputs? If so, can you use that as a pass through so audio AND video go from the new PC through the sound system then to TV?
2) If sound system has no HDMI inputs, you should still be able to connect a separate audio cable directly from the new PC. So even if HDMI is carrying video (and possibly sound) to TV), you should be able to tell the PC to send sound through audio cable to sound system. (not ideal)
3) If your TV has an audio out (like optical cable) you should be able to connect HDMI from PC to TV and have that send video and sound to TV. Then it would be up to the TV to send the audio to the sound system. This might be best for you because using the sound system would be optional and it should support surround sound.

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You'll be able to send it separately to the stereo via analog or digital audio ports instead of HDMI.

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@bsmith1: That all sounds correct. I am not familiar with telling the TV to send the sound someplace, but it may be an option. Both the TV and the new blu-ray have a lot of unexplored features. I am from the age of walking over the the TV and turning the knob to select one of only three networks, so programming the TV is very alien. I am famously a sort of idiot savant, able to hook all these systems together with no understanding of how it all works. But HDMI is still too foreign for me to work it into my gestalt.

I will examine the suggestions you made this evening and get back to ya'll. Thanks!

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@bsmith1: Be aware that for your option 3 (HDMI to TV, TV audio out to sound system), some TVs won't pass through Dolby digital from an HDMI input to the TV's audio output. My Panasonic Viera for example. :-(

My TV will pass Dolby surround to the sound system for OTA broadcasts, but will only output stereo when passing through sound from an HDMI input. Apparently this is by design though I can't think of a reasonable justification. Probably some HDCP-related paranoia.

FYI for original question, in my setup I run HDMI from PC to TV and a separate digital optical cable from PC to sound system to get Dolby surround for movies, etc. Makes for extra button pushes on the remote(s) to setup, but provides the option to listen via the TV speakers when I don't care about full surround through the stereo.

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@turbinator42: That's a good point. It seems like I've heard that before, but I don't know why either.

My system has everything going through the surround sound via HDMI then to the TV through 1 HDMI cable. I change the input source on the surround sound to change what is displayed on the TV. I do have a digital optic cable going from TV to surround sound, but I only use that for things that originate from the TV like apps (youtube, netflix) or Over the Air broadcasts.

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@moondrake: Some TVs will have a setting in the menus to change internal speakers vs audio out (or both). I'm able to specify the format of my audio out (stereo, DTS, etc), but my TV is "smart" enough to know to use the audio out when the surround sound is turned on. It switches automatically between internal speakers and audio out. It helps that both my TV and surround sound are Samsung products.

See turbinator42's response about going from HDMI input to the TV then optical out. There could be some limitations depending on your model of TV.

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To clarify: best answer is to get a computer that passes audio through HDMI, then connect compter via HDMI to AVR, then AVR to display. Anything else will be a bit of a kludge, but can be done.

I will reiterate that HDMI to TV, then optical to AVR is a bad solution. At the insistence of the content owners the optical out from TVs cannot pass anything more advanced than stereo.

I think you will be pleased by moving away from s-video. It really must look pretty bad on a 65" DLP.

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I have a similar setup to what you are describing.

In a word the answer to your question is no, you do not have to run the HDMI cable to the sound system.

You have a couple alternatives, but you might find that you WANT to run the HDMI through your sound system.

I personally would because that is how most home theatre systems are intended to be used, but you dont have to. You can use essentially the same setup you have right now. The only caveat is you might have to change some settings on the PC to tell it to send the sound through the audio jack instead of the HDMI (or send through both and just mute your TV). Even then, it will probably work by default.

There is another question here that some people have touched on which is the question of what kind of "audio cable" you are using. I am assuming a 3.5mm audio "headphone" jack. Continued....

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These work well for stereo sound, but if you have a brand new home theatre system, you probably want to take advantage of "surround sound" which uses more than the 2 channels that stereo uses. If you want to do this you have to ditch the 3.5mm stereo cable. But you still have a few options.

First, you could run the HDMI cable through your stereo which would carry with it the digital multi-channel signal for surround sound. Assuming you do not want to do this (which you dont, judging from the fact that you posted this question) you can just use a separate optical audio cable (or fibre optic audio cable). Optical audio cables carry multi-channel digital audio.

Continued...

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Most PCs these days come with an optical audio output, it is what I use on my PC. My PC does not have an HDMI output, but I use a DVI to HDMI cable which does not transmit audio, so this means I HAVE to use a separate audio cable (hence I described my setup as similar to yours). If, however, your HDMI cable is carrying the audio to your TV you can also plug the optical cable into the optical output on your TV which will essentially pass the signal through your TV to your receiver (EDIT: see commenter above, but apparently this downgrades the audio to stereo, so maybe stick to running the cable direct from PC).

Hope that wasn't completely useless and confusing, feel free to ask for clarification.

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@wilfbrim: I don't think it's at the insistence of the content providers.
Simply, it's a matter of economics. The TV will output digital audio it decodes from the internal tuner, but adding circuitry to split the HDMI video/audio and send it back out (as Dolby Digital) is not very logical considering that's the A/V receiver's job.

j5 j5
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I had my friend take a look behind the "curtain" when he went home to feed my dog at lunch. This is the scoop. As I thought, the new sound system, for whatever goofy reason, has no HDMI in. It just has the single HDMI out. The sound system does have a couple of USB ports-- would it be possible to connect the computer to it via USB? I have plugged in a flash drive and an external HD to the USB ports and played media from there so maybe it can talk to the computer that way.

My TV has just about every kind of port, including 3x HDMI, 2x RCA, 2x Component, and S Video.

The computer is currently connected to the sound system through its green audio out port via an RCA cable, and the video is directly connected to the TV via S-Video. I could just leave the old computer where it is in the entertainment chain. I just wanted to put the new one in there for faster use, wireless internet access, and smaller footprint. But it is doing a fine job.

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@moondrake: A lot of those all-in-one Blu-ray + Surround sound sets don't give you any HDMI inputs because they figure Blu-ray is built in so why would you need to connect anything? That doesn't give you many options for Xbox 360, Satellite receiver, etc...(or in your case a PC)

If the only inputs your sound system has is the RCA (red and white) then you'll probably do the same setup with the new PC. The only difference would be using the HDMI to send video to the TV. Double check to make sure the sound system doesn't have an optical audio input as you could use that for better quality and surround sound from the PC.

Edit: the USB ports probably won't work. They're usually for new firmware updates or play MP3s or showing JPGs from a USB flash drive.

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Thanks everybody. This was all a big help. I will be trying for a new computer in Friday and if I don;t get one then I'll grab one on cyber Monday. This will be a big help in getting it all set up.

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@moondrake: You need a real receiver also.
That Pioneer that floats up all the time around here would be a good choice.

j5 j5
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@j5: The blu-ray is basically a receiver. It's one of those Samsung "Smarthub" devices. In addition to providing surround sound, it connects wirelessly to the internet for web surfing, Netflix and YouTube streaming. It plays MP3s and regular CDs as well as DVD and Blu Ray. It has USB ports through which I have been able to play XVID and MKV files off flash drives. It plays the radio with amazingly clear reception as none of my other radios get anything. I live at the foot of the mountain which is topped by all the radio and TV towers, I am in the broadcast shadow for everything.

In fact, the capabilities of the device are sharply hampered by a lack of needed input ports, resulting in me having to bypass it with the Wii, and to bypass the video on the computer. It's annoying that such a sophisticated device that styles itself a "Smarthub" is not able to act as an actual hub. But I have been very happy with the Netflix and being able to easily play MP3s and listen to the radio.